The only industry is the manufacture of olive-wood and mother-of-pearl goods for sale to pilgrims and for export.
The exports are chiefly coffee, hides, ivory (all from Abyssinia), gum, mother-of-pearl and a little gold; the imports cotton and other European stuffs, cereals, beverages, tobacco and arms and ammunition for the Abyssinians.
Cabinets, fire-screens, plaques and boxes resplendent with gold lacquer grounds carrying elaborate and profuse decoration of ivory and mother-of-pearl are not objects that appeal to Japanese taste.
Guano and mother-of-pearl shells are the principal articles of export; the population of the islands is about 300.
They made mother-of-pearl fishhooks, and they still use a part of those old hooks - or artificial bait - in combination with steel hooks, the native-made portion being generally shaped like a small fish.
These and the gunwale are tastefully inlaid with mother-of-pearl and wreathed with shells and feathers.
The sixth grade, for civilians an egret, for the military a tiger-cat with a mother-of-pearl clasp. The seventh grade, for civilians a mandarin duck, for the military a mottled bear with a silver clasp. The eighth grade, for civilians a quail, for the military a seal with a clear horn clasp. The ninth grade, for civilians a long-tailed jay, for the military a rhinoceros with a buffalo-horn clasp.
Next in importance are cotton-spinning and weaving, machine embroidery, brewing, and the mother-of-pearl industry.
The employment of mother-of-pearl to, ornament lacquer grounds dates from a period as remote as the 8th century, but its use as a material for constructing decorative designs began in the 17th century, and was due to an expert called Shibayama, whose descendant, Shibayama SOichi, has in recent years been associated with the same work in TOkyO.